When fans talk about Gundam, they’re hardly ever talking about a stand-alone show. With so many spin-off titles released, it can be overwhelming to know which best Gundam series to choose.
Mobile Suit Gundam tells the story of a war, and the conflict when a teenage boy unveils a new robotic weapon. This weapon, a giant mecha suit known as a Gundam, has the power to change the tides of war.
But why all this strange attraction to Gundam?
The Attraction of Gundam
Since its debut in 1979, Mobile Suit Gundam became one of the biggest franchises in Anime. It’s commonly compared to the popularity of Star Wars.
Set in a distant future, Mobile Suit Gundam tells the story of a war between factions fighting for independence. Where one series portrays a particular faction as being good, another series may do the opposite.
Throughout the different series’, we watch as both sides commit terrible atrocities for control with the use of mobile suits. These robots, known as Gundam, were built to defend the plight of the colonies to escape their oppression.
With all the robots, yes, this anime has lots of action, but it also tells a deep and meaningful story. Gundam has always been a drama about the hardships characters endure, and the effects war has on the people involved.
Although Gundam was already popular in Japan, it was its position on Cartoon Network that helped bring the mecha anime to a new generation around the world. Gundam ultimately shaped the anime robot genre and created many of the archetypes that we often see in shows today.
Mobile Suit Gundam timelines
It’s also good to note that there are multiple Gundam timelines throughout the different series.
Universal Century covers the events of the One Year War, a conflict between Earth and its rebel space colonies. The Earth Federation is depicted as the right side, while the Republic of Zeon is represented to be wrong. Although it didn’t make the list, we recommend watching Gundam The Origin.
After Colony continues to show the struggle between Earth and the space colonies, however, the tables turn as the viewer is meant to sympathize with the rebels.
Other Gundam shows take place in their own timeline known as One-Shot Centuries. They have no connection to the other stories other than the use of mobile suits. You will find series’ such as After War Gundam X within this type of timeline.
Where to Watch the Best Gundam Series
Since Mobile Suit Gundam’s popularity grew in the 1980s, the series has spun out many side story series and manga. And with a show this old, it can sometimes be challenging to find.
Online retailers, such as Amazon, are an excellent place to start when searching for this great anime. However, today, there are several streaming websites you can also choose from.
The Best Gundam Series: Ranked Worst to Best
Gundam has crafted a tangled timeline of history and adventure over the years. But if you start with the wrong show, you might miss half the story. So we’ve composed this list to guide you through the best Gundam series and help you choose where to begin.
As we go through the list, please keep in mind that our opinions may vary. We’ve based these results off a collection of many online polls and discussions to bring you what we believe to be the worst and best Gundam series.
Mobile Fighter G-Gundam
How can one describe something as utterly mad as G-Gundam? The show is ridiculous, hilarious, wildly offensive, and extremely popular. It’s the worst and absolutely shouldn’t be your first exposure to Gundam!
This series takes place in a unique timeline after the Gundam fights have completely ravaged Earth. Most of humanity now lives in space and has abandoned the very concept of war.
However, every few years, an Olympic-like event takes place where each country competes for control with its specifically-built Gundam. Each Gundam is based on varying stereotypes, such as America’s football-playing surfer with boxing gloves, or Canada’s big tall lumberjack.
In most cases, it would be irresponsible to recommend something full of unrealistic with exaggerated characters and cultural stereotypes. However, G-Gundam’s quick pace and funny antics make it an unexpected fan favorite.
If you don’t believe us, check out it’s surprising 4.5 out of 5.0 stars on Amazon.
Mobile Suit Gundam Wing
The story of Gundam Wing is what you would expect from a Gundam plotline. The colonies are oppressed by a powerful faction and are now declaring independence.
The Earth Alliance, along with OZ and the Romefeller Foundation, have control over the five colonies and space. To fight back against them, space colony scientists commence “Operation Meteor,” sending five powerful mobile suits to Earth for vengeance.
Built out of virtually indestructible material, these Gundam suits begin an assault against the Alliance and its sub-organization OZ. As the series progresses, we are introduced to several new elements and plot twists that advance the story.
You can sympathize with the characters from all sides of the conflict. Each character goes through a change or situation where they must make a difficult choice.
Like the characters, the mobile suits contain singular yet distinguishing traits. Each is given equal time to stand out and present its unique features and skills.
The only drawback is that the visuals of Gundam Wing may seem a bit outdated to most viewers. The 49 episodes might also be a little too long and drawn-out for some.
However, the fingerprint left behind by this cultural entity has continuously drawn the attention of curious Gundam fans, giving it a 4.0 out of 5.0 stars on Amazon.
Mobile Suit Gundam SEED
It’s a story about war and the conflict of the different perspectives between those involved.
During an ongoing war between the Naturals (OMNI) and Coordinators (ZAFT), a unit from ZAFT hijacks the Earth Alliance’s newly developed mobile suits. While this may seem like a straightforward plotline, several elements push the plot into controversy when introduced to the characters.
Throughout this best Gundam series, you’re left wondering which side is the right side to be on. You’ll see both sides of the story, watching the cruel and tragic nature of pitting friend against friend.
For SEED, this conflict was well done, moved smoothly, and resolved in a satisfactory way to most viewers.
Built on the interaction between the characters, the battles and action almost seem secondary but don’t fail to entertain. There isn’t one battle or event that goes without meaning or significance. Although the animation is average, the art is still pleasing to the eye and blends well in the series.
It features many mentions to mobile suits from other Gundam titles. References such as these may go over the head of those not familiar with the Gundam universe.
While it’s not necessary to watch other Gundams to enjoy SEED, it will most likely increase your enjoyment.
If you enjoy Gundam SEED, you may also want to continue the story with Gundam SEED Destiny.
Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans
You don’t have to be a fan of Gundam to get the most out of the latest installment in the franchise. Iron-Blooded Orphans is entirely standalone, taking place in a separate setting apart from the rest of the massive Gundam multiverse.
Like all Gundam, this series revolves around war. However, it’s a more gritty and brutal edition to the franchise. The show tells the story of orphans raised to fight on the battlefield. Treated like property, they struggle in their search for a place to belong.
The intense battles cement the brutality fought during mecha combat. Unlike much of Gundam, It’s unique that most battles take place on the ground rather than in the air. However, this doesn’t make the combat any less engaging.
That brutality only extends to the sometimes horrific and tragic deaths of named characters you’ve come to know. Protagonists and antagonists alike fall victim to the horrors of the conflict. The show is excellent about shocking you in this fashion.
The characters in this best Gundam series are morally grey. While some can clearly be described as good or evil, most are not so easy to understand. These characters are also on neither side of the war. They’re fighting for themselves and their future.
This new edition to the Gundam franchise is well worth a watch, rewarding it a 4.2 out of 5.0 stars on Amazon.
Mobile Suit Gundam: The 0083
This story sets out to bridge the gap between the original Gundam series and Zeta Gundam.
Set three years after the events of the One Year War, Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory is debatable. While it boasts strong visuals and action, its mediocre plotline and uninspiring characters ultimately prevent its full potential.
The story is promising at first glance with the brave and desperate attempt of the Zeon remnants. You watch as Zeon begins to pave a road for the future of its beliefs and its people. This act instantly transforms them into commendable antagonists.
Viewers can sympathize with both sides in the struggle between the Federation and Zeon. However, upon closer inspection, one finds the 13 episode story riddled with juvenile rivalry.
Fortunately, where it may lack in the story, 0083 excels in the animation department. Each fight is smoothly animated with precisely drawn frames. It features detailed and technical background art, including some of the most exciting action scenes from the Gundam franchise.
The 0083 also features fantastic mecha designs. These designs are not only visible of the Gundams themselves but also seen in both factions’ various grunt suits.
With its masterful balance of action-packed battles, drama, and a touch of romance, it’s one of the best Gundam series, rewarding it a 4.3 out of 5.0 stars on Amazon.
Why You Should Watch Gundam
Gundam is, without a doubt, among the most successful franchises in anime. It has everything to offer from profound, meaningful anti-war messages to romance, and giant robots.
With 28 shows and counting, there’s something for everyone in the world of Gundam. Opinions on what is best or worth your time will vary, but we hope we’ve given you a starting point on your Gundam journey.
If you could go back and watch any Gundam series, which would you choose? Let us know in the comments section below!